middle ages

Omar Khayyam – Mathematics and Poetry

Omar Khayyam – Mathematics and Poetry

On December 4, 1131, Persian mathematician, astronomer, philosopher, and poet, Omar Khayyam; born Ghiyāth ad-Dīn Abu’l-Fatḥ ʿUmar ibn Ibrāhīm al-Khayyām Nīshāpūrī, passed away. He is widely considered to be one of the most influential scientists of the middle ages. He wrote numerous treatises on mechanics, geography, mineralogy and astronomy. Early Years Omar Khayyám was born in Nishapur, in Iran, then a Seljuq capital in Khorasan, which rivaled Cairo or Baghdad in cultural…
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Al-Biruni and his Contributions to Astronomy

Al-Biruni and his Contributions to Astronomy

On September 4, 973, Muslim scholar Al-Biruni was born. He is regarded as one of the greatest scholars of the medieval Islamic era and was well versed in physics, mathematics, astronomy, and natural sciences, and also distinguished himself as a historian, chronologist and linguist. He is referred to as the founder of Indology for his remarkable description of early 11th-century India. Abu Rayhan al-Biruni was born in Khwarazm now better known as Karakalpakstan.…
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Alfonso X from Spain and the Alfonsine Tables

Alfonso X from Spain and the Alfonsine Tables

On November 23, 1221, Spanish King and astronomer Alfonso X of Castile was born, who encouraged the preparation of revised planetary tables. These “Alfonsine Tables” a revision and improvement of the Ptolemaic tables, were the best available during the Middle Ages. Alfonso was born in Toledo, Spain. It is not much known about his early life. However, it is widely believed that he started his career as a soldier when he was…
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The Viking Raid on the Abbey of Lindisfarne

The Viking Raid on the Abbey of Lindisfarne

On 8 June, 793 AD, Vikings destroyed the abbey on Lindisfarne, a centre of learning that was famous across the continent. This event also is considered as the beginning of the Viking Age, when Scandinavian Norsemen explored Europe by its seas and rivers for trade, raids and conquest. Recently, this first Viking assault has gained more public interest because of the popular tv series “Vikings” (“Wrath of the Northmen“), in which the…
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Thomas Aquinas and the Tradition of Scholasticism

Thomas Aquinas and the Tradition of Scholasticism

Triumph of St. Thomas Aquinas by Andrea di Bonaiuto On March 7, 1271, Thomas Aquinas, Italian Dominican friar and priest and an immensely influential philosopher and theologian in the tradition of scholasticism, passed away. His influence on Western thought is considerable, and much of modern philosophy was conceived in development or refutation of his ideas, particularly in the areas of ethics, natural law, metaphysics, and political theory. Thomas Aquinas was born around…
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Frederick II – The “Wonder of the World”

Frederick II – The “Wonder of the World”

Frederick II (1194 – 1250) On December 26, 1194, Frederick II, one of the most powerful Holy Roman Emperors of the Middle Ages and head of the House of Hohenstaufen was born. Speaking six languages (Latin, Sicilian, German, French, Greek and Arabic), Frederick was an avid patron of science and the art, called by a contemporary chronicler stupor mundi (the wonder of the world). In 1196, the only two year old Frederick…
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Charles Martell and the Battle of Tours and Poitiers

Charles Martell and the Battle of Tours and Poitiers

Charles Martel (718-748)from “Promptuarii Iconum Insigniorum” (1553) On October 25, 732 AD, the Battle of Tours and Poitiers between the united Frankish and Burgundian forces under Austrasian Mayor of the Palace Charles Martel, against an army of the Umayyad Caliphate led by Abdul Rahman Al Ghafiqi, Governor-General of al-Andalus, ended the Islamic expansion era in Europe. It is argued among historians that Charles Martel’s victory was one of the most important events…
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Marco Polo – The Great Traveler and Merchant

Marco Polo – The Great Traveler and Merchant

Marco Polo Mosaic On September 15, 1254, the Venetian merchant traveler Marco Polo was born. He is best known for his journeys to Central Asia and China, narrated in the book ‘The Travels of Marco Polo‘. Marco Polo directly followed his father’s footsteps, who was a well known traveling merchant himself. The journey of Marco’s father Niccolò and his brother Maffeo took many years, but it was worth it,  they came back…
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